2018 Summer School at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków

The external delivery of online language courses has many advantages, including access flexibility for students — but one drawback is the lack of classroom experience. Students of Polish at Macquarie have noticed that this situation can nevertheless be offset by enrolment in short-term summer residential courses offered by the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Aware of the importance for students to experience such classroom learning together with a practical immersion in the cultural life of native speakers, Macquarie International — under the expert management of Overseas Study Advisors Miss Lyse Thomas and Mrs Susana Catalina Prat — grant student scholarships toward both tuition fees and travel costs for such outbound mobility programs.

Students who are undertaking language studies as part of either a Bachelor of International Studies, Bachelor of Arts or a Diploma of Languages are encouraged to apply for these scholarships to further develop their language skills, whilst also earning credit points toward the completion of their studies. Beside the academic rewards, participation in the Summer School offers students an opportunity to gauge the vibrancy of Kraków through a range of extra-curricular activities, such as organised excursions to places of cultural interest as well as interactive experiences geared towards an appreciation of the local history and traditions.

As was the case in previous years, students of Polish Studies from Macquarie University have again participated and completed Polish language courses at the Jagiellonian University, and it is their success that I wish to acknowledge here. Two students were awarded Macquarie International scholarships to attend this year’s short-term Summer School — Mr Kristopher Benedict Evans, the recipient of the 2018 Zygmunt Wszelaki Prize for proficiency at 300-level Polish units, and Mr Cordel Murphy, who for his sustained commitment to learning and engagement with Polish Studies, was additionally awarded the Henryk Skrzyński Memorial Scholarship to study Polish language and culture in the native land. Both students are to be congratulated on behalf of Macquarie International and the Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures on reaching this high point in their language learning.

In their brief reports that follow, Kristopher and Cordel recount their experiences attending the Summer School at the Jagiellonian University, emphasising the educational, cultural and social value of the program.

For further details regarding Polish Studies, please contact me directly via email kamila.walker@mq.edu.au, or by phone: (02) 9850-7014. All enquiries are welcome.

Dr Kamila Walker

The Polish Studies program is proudly supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Sydney.

Kristopher and Cordel report from 2018 Summer School at the Jagiellonian University

Kristopher Benedict Evans at a waterfall in Zakopane. Photo: Supplied

My time at Jagellonian University was a truly amazing experience. Despite having visited Kraków many times in the past, attending the Jagiellonian University Summer School gave me a new perspective on Kraków and Poland in general. I would highly recommend this course to others, both for its academic content and for the many great social events and excursions on offer.

I was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Summer School teachers, who taught me Polish language, history and literature. Despite the rigorous schedule, I always found the energy to participate and have fun. Most importantly, I made friendships that will last a lifetime. Students from all around the world came to study together and this has been an opportunity of a lifetime that I will always cherish.

I thoroughly enjoyed my group trips to Zakopane and the Dunajec River. The latter place in particular was breathtaking. In addition, I was always kept busy with other outings with new friends. When given a chance like this, students of the Polish language — or simply those interested in Poland — should always take part.

My profuse thanks must go to Macquarie International for my scholarship, and particularly to Mrs Susana Catalina Prat. I am also very appreciative of the continued efforts of Dr Kamila Walker, who goes above and beyond in assisting her students, including myself.

Kristopher Benedict Evans

Cordel Murphy in the Chapel of St. Kinga’s in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo: Supplied

I was lucky enough to receive a Macquarie International Scholarship to go to the Jagiellonian University’s Summer School in Kraków held from 5 July to 25 July. I was also fortunate to be awarded the Henryk Skrzyński Scholarship at the same time. Previously in 2015 I was an exchange student to Poland for one year, but only managed to spend a couple of days in Kraków, so it was an excellent opportunity this year to be able to explore more of the city and spend valuable time there. Both these scholarships allowed me to do some amazing things. For example, I was able to see Emilia Oskar Schindler’s Factory, to visit Wawel Castle, to purchase books about Kraków and Polish history and finally to catch up with my old friends from Warsaw.

The three-week program was extremely intensive, starting at 8:45am and, for me, finishing at 18:30pm, as I chose to do a Polish History and Culture unit with the aim to complement my studies at Macquarie University. The language program was enriched by a range of extra-curricular activities in which I eagerly participated. I went on trips to Zakopane to hike to a waterfall and had bigos in a góralska chata style. Along with other students, I also visited Wieliczka Salt Mine, which is unbelievably beautiful. Our fabulous teachers took us to Żywe Muzeum Obwarzanka and we all became certified Obwarzanka makers! For another lesson, we all went to the Collegium Maius, the university’s oldest building, which is where the Jagiellonian University Museum is located.  

All the teachers and support staff at the Jagiellonian University’s School of Polish Language and Culture were amazing and extremely helpful. I would strongly recommend the university and this short residential program to anyone who wishes to learn or improve their Polish. I was admitted to an A2 class (elementary level), even though I had been a student of Polish for 4 years. This might be an indication of just how complex the Polish language is and how much more there is always to learn! These classes accommodated students of all ages, ranging in age from teenagers through to mature age students— something certainly worth considering for everyone.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Dr Kamila Walker for her positive support and encouragement during my time at Macquarie. To my fellow students I would like to say thanks for their lively discussions, and for their great sense of humour. I am looking forward to undertaking my final Polish unit at Macquarie University to complete my Diploma of Languages.

Cordel Murphy